May 1st, 2011
08:14 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

People in areas devastated by tornadoes in the southeast United States last week still are looking for hundreds of missing people as they try to reconstruct their lives and communities.  Here is a look at this and other stories that CNN plans to follow this week:

Hundreds missing in Tuscaloosa alone

About 148 twisters Wednesday left a swath of destruction across 13 states, killing more than 335 people in six states, including 250 people in Alabama alone.

Rescuers and volunteers have descended on the region, including in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the mayor says hundreds of people remain unaccounted for and many more have been left homeless. At least 39 people were killed in Tuscaloosa, a university city struck by a massive tornado Wednesday.

Amazing stories of survival are coming in, as are reminders that the numerous flattened communities have a long road of recovery ahead: Nearly a half million customers in Alabama still were without power on Sunday.

Levee battle: Flood rural Missouri or risk losing Illinois city?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could soon blow up a levee on the swollen Mississippi River in an effort to save the small Illinois city of Cairo from an apparently imminent flood. But the move to ease the pressure on Cairo would flood Missouri farm communities instead, and Missouri officials on Sunday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the move.

As of 3 p.m. CT Sunday, the gauge at Cairo - where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi River - stood at 59.97 feet, a record level. Flood stage is 40 feet, according to the National Weather Service. Barges containing explosives have been moved from Kentucky to the Birds Point-New Madrid levee - a sign to residents that the breach is imminent.

The move would flooding 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland but save Cairo, a city of about 2,800, and ease pressure on the entire Mississippi River and Tributaries Project. About 90 families who live in the farmland area have already been evacuated, Missouri officials have said.

Engineers have warned that should the rising waters of the Mississippi River overwhelm the entire flood control project, it could deluge cities, destroy crops, destroy businesses and paralyze river transportation. The injunction request has been assigned to Justice Samuel Alito, according to the U.S. Supreme Court's website.

Libyan government's forces pounding rebel positions

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi have stepped up their shelling of rebel positions in Benghazi and Misrata after the government claimed one of Gadhafi's sons was killed in a NATO airstrike.

An eyewitness reported significant damage and some casualties in Misrata, a city that has been contested since a rebel uprising against Gadhafi began in February.

The Libyan government said Sunday that Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Arab Gadhafi, and three of Gadhafi's grandchildren died Saturday in a strike that destroyed the son's home in Tripoli; CNN could not independently confirm the report. NATO began bombarding Libya on March 19, after the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution authorizing any means necessary to protect civilians demanding the end of Gadhafi's nearly 42-year rule.

Prince Charles goes to Washington

It's been an eventful few days for the United Kingdom's Prince Charles. Last week he saw his son married in a small family affair that you may have heard about. On Tuesday, he'll be in Washington to kick off a three-day visit to the United States. In Washington, he'll meet with President Barack Obama and keynote a conference on sustainable agriculture. He'll also make stops in New York and Philadelphia later in the week.

Endeavour crew in waiting mode

NASA this week will be addressing a power problem that stopped plans to launch space shuttle Endeavour last week and this Monday.

The shuttle - which is about to embark on its final mission - will not launch any earlier than May 8, NASA said. Endeavour's final launch was delayed Friday because of concerns about the shuttle's heating system. A subsequent plan to launch Monday also was scrapped.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords - the wife of Endeavour commander Mark Kelly - is expected to pause her rehabilitation in Houston to see the launch. Giffords, who was shot in the head in a January assassination attempt in Arizona, went to Florida for the expected launch last week but returned to Houston on Sunday because of the delays.

This is NASA's next-to-last scheduled shuttle launch, with the space agency retiring the whole fleet later this year.

Congress expected to talk gas prices, debt ceiling upon return

The U.S. Congress returns to work this week after a two-week break. Reacting to rising gas prices, legislators have signaled that they'll take up energy-related legislation. House Republicans plan this week to vote to increase oil drilling in the United States, and Senate Democrats say they'll take up legislation that would end taxpayer subsidies to oil companies - money that Democrats say would be better used to develop energy alternatives.

Lawmakers also are expected to continue discussing the nation's debt ceiling. U.S. debt is expected to hit the country's $14.3 trillion ceiling this month, though congressional leaders say the Treasury can take steps to put off the deadline until early July. Congressional Republicans have been saying for weeks that they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling without conditions controlling federal spending.

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soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. im too cute

    Cairo is a dead town. .county had patrol cars repossesed because they couldnt pay for them. .the entire area needs to admit its lifecycle is over. .

    May 1, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jimmy

    My prayers go out to those in Alabama, those not found.

    We should have our own royalty to receive royalty from other countries. I vote for Jimmy Carter and HW Bush. Though I guess if we were voting for them, they wouldn't really be royalty. Lucky Brits have everything. Empire, royalty, and David Bowie. And we have Guam, the Kennedy family, and Gary Cherone. Alas.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey

    @ Jimmy:
    Other things that Lucky Brits have that Americans don't:
    old-fashioned scones, Debrett's Correct Form, and widespread literacy.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey

    @ faux popye:
    Please recast your sentence of 8:57 PM, which can be read to imply that all gay persons are losers.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. aaron

    nothing about canadas election? wow, screw you cnn

    May 1, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • vaughn

      they can't report it as according to Canadian laws its illegal to do so by someone who's not a Canadian citizen. Its to ensure foreign parties are not influencing the vote.

      May 1, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Reginald Bottomtooth III

    Old fashioned scones are so dry they need old cream to moisten them,we cant even sound out the letter 'R' and we were literacy giants 100 years ago.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey

    @ Reginald Bottomtooth III:
    Sadly, I fear that you are correct: England's contribution to literature is finished.
    We Americans have surpassed you with Maya Angelou.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey

    The troll is quick and he's been to England.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lit Gant

    Kill all the Gadhafis and their children, great Christian love America, England, France, Spain, et al. Keep the killing going until the bloodshed turns the nation red. If the Gadhafis must go, is there no way to accomplish this without all the killing by the different players? I read it again this morning: nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom. The rebels must stop killing. Kadhafi needs to stop the killing. NATO needs to stop the killing. America needs to get out of there and stop participating in the killing. Is this Obama's relection ticket? Is this his tail wagging the dog? Is this the CNN war to get great TV ratings for itself and its reporters? God please help us here on the earth, things are to far out of control. God, please step in and give us a sign. Help us to end the killing.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lou50

    until the shuttle is fixed you can not schedule a launch. air dates can be posted but till it is fixed and closed out all things are relative.

    May 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gayzuck

    Pssss on the brits

    May 1, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joey

    @ gayzuck:
    If you can accomplish that from America, you must be very popular.

    May 1, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey

    Why did CNN censor my comment that killing is an integral component of war?

    May 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey

    Thank you, CNN.

    May 1, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Trolling Stones

    Sure..the brits have bad cuisine,a low % of good looking gals,and would be probably be eating strudel if it wasn't for the yanks,but they gave us the Beatles,Stones,and The Who etc..

    May 1, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
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